It’s the beginning of March and a good time to check in with yourself about those New Year’s resolutions you so zealously made at year’s end. Remember those? You vowed to work more efficiently, take more time for yourself, lose a few pounds, get more exercise in your day, etc. How’s that working for you? Are you making progress on any front? Don’t be discouraged if your plans are stalling – it’s only March and you have 9 more months to make it happen.
As a personal trainer, I work with a lot of people who start out the year with good intentions, only to get derailed by a myriad of issues: time restraints, injuries, lack of interest, boredom, etc. Before you give up on your best-laid plan, here are a few helpful hints to keep your exercise program on track.
First of all, make the commitment. Decide that you’re going to get in some physical activity at least 5 days a week. Plan it out and make it happen. Put on workout gear first thing in the morning or right after work. Being dressed for your workout is a step in the right direction and will hopefully get you in the mood. If nothing else, you’ll get some wear out of your workout togs!
Don’t think that you have to spend 2 hours a day in the gym to get your physical activity. We’re all so busy these days that a good hour or two of a sweat-fest just isn’t realistic. Breaking your workouts up throughout the day will still do the trick. Walk your dog around the block a few times, play soccer with your kids, hike in the mountains, go on a bike ride. Just try and break a sweat for at least 10 minutes. We’re so lucky to live in Southern California where the weather allows us to be outside year round. Take advantage of that and get a bonus boost of well-being from the fresh air.
Some good hikes in the area to try:
Franklin Canyon, Deervale Place (off Beverly Glen), Fryman Canyon, Wilacre Park (Betty B. Dearing Trail), Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park, Caballero Canyon.
Mix it up. Many people get bored with the same old classes, the same routine of running on the treadmill, lifting weights. Vary your workout. With so many exercise options available in Sherman Oaks alone, one can take yoga classes, Pilates, barre work, boot camp, boxing, dancing, circuit training, Zumba, weight lifting, martial arts, etc. Be adventuresome and try something new. Your body adapts to any exercise when you do it long enough, so in order to challenge your muscles and bust out of that boredom, you should change up your routine often and find an activity that brings you pleasure. Chances are that you’ll stick with it if you’re enjoying it.
Check out: Pulse Fitness Studio, Max Fitness Academy, Mind2body, Bad Cat Pilates, Black Dog Yoga, Southern California Taekwondo Center, Fitness Mania, Nadia Eftedal’s Rhythm Room, Belly Dance for Fitness, Rising Lotus Yoga, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness.
There are times when one is just not in the mood to exercise. On those occasions, I tell myself to just make the effort. I don’t have to run my fastest time or go all out with my weights, although when I’m actually in the thick of the exercise, I usually find the energy to push myself. It’s just getting there that may often be the biggest obstacle. Make it a part of your routine and don’t think twice.
Grab a pal and double your fun. If you exercise with a friend, you’ll be more accountable and less likely to flake out. Plus, you can motivate one another and let’s face it, most everything is just more entertaining when you have someone to do it with.
My best piece of advice is not to be too hard on yourself. Don’t think that if you haven’t been able to work out for a week, you’ve defeated your entire resolution to get in shape. Make the effort to get back on track by hopping on your bike or treating yourself to a yoga class. View exercise as a chance to take time for yourself, to do something that is good for your body and your well-being. Believe it or not, your body releases endorphins that, research has shown, actually improve your mood. Stick with it and your body will thank you.
Randi Green is a fitness instructor and personal trainer who works with children and adults. She is also the mother of three children.